Today’s news:

Halt to city ed reforms denied by lawsuit judge

A Manhattan judge ruled Monday that components of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s citywide school reform plan can continue but can only be implemented after June 30.

Judge Doris Ling-Cohan said in State Supreme Court that three days’ notice must also be given to all involved parties in the school system, which includes superintendents and their staff at each of the 32 individual school districts, before any changes are implemented.

“The merits and strength of our case were apparent to the judge,” said state Sen. Carl Kruger (D-Brooklyn), who brought the lawsuit against the city charging the mayor overstepped his authority to reform the city’s schools.

“Today’s motion only demonstrated the strength of our lawsuit to stop the dismantling of the city’s 32 school districts,” he said.

Ling-Cohan, however, denied Kruger’s request for a temporary restraining order on Bloomberg’s plan. This means the mayor and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein can continue with their consolidation framework that brings the 32 districts under the administration of 10 regional instructional zones.

They will also be able to lay off city Department of Education staff but will have to do so three days later than planned.

Ling-Cohan will hold a hearing June 3 to decide if Bloomberg’s and Klein’s reorganization violates state law.

Bloomberg’s and Klein’s plan, announced in January, also calls for the elimination of local school boards and superintendents in favor of parent engagement boards with advisory powers and 10 regional “super” superintendents. Kruger and state Assemblyman Steve Sanders (D-Manhattan) filed the suit because they believe such changes violate state law.

The state Legislature gave Bloomberg the power to reform the city’s education system. The lawsuit stems from a fight between state legislators and Bloomberg as to the extent of those powers.

Reach reporter Alex Davidson by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156

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